The parents of six children who died when a fire ripped through their home mouthed “I love you” to each other today when their murder charges were sensationally dropped.
Mick Philpott, 55, and his wife Mairead, 31, will now face a trial in February next year charged with six counts of manslaughter.
Jade Philpott, 10, and her brothers John, nine, Jack, eight; Jessie, six, and Jayden, five, died when fire tore through their house in Victory Road, Allenton, Derby, at 4am on May 11.
Their brother Duwayne, 13, died three days later in Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
The down-grading of the charges means the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not believe the pair intended to kill their children.
The maximum sentence for manslaughter is discretionary while a convicted murderer is automatically jailed for life.
The couple, from Derby, entered their pleas to six separate counts of manslaughter during a 90 minute hearing at Birmingham Crown Court.
The pair, who appeared on separate video-links but could see each other, mouthed “I love you” while covering their hearts with their hands as the new charges were read out.
Earlier, the pair were seen on the court’s TV screen waving to each other before Mick mouthed “You alright?” to his tearful wife.
Paul Mosley, 45, of Cecil Street, Derby, who appeared in person, also pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of the six children.
Dad-of-17 Mick wept and held his head in his hands as he entered his not guilty pleas.
They spoke only to confirm their names and pleas and to confirm they could hear proceedings.
The next hearing in the case will take place on January 16 next year.
A trial was fixed for February 11 and is expected to last five weeks.
Philpott’s former mistress, Lisa Willis, 28, and her brother-in-law Ian Cousins, 38, were arrested on suspicion of murder following the fire but later released without charge.